Since it was first coined by Stephen Colbert in 2005, the term has taken on a massive life of its own–coming to mean, in its broadest sense, the problem of people making up their own reality, one just “truthy” enough that they actually believe it.
Frankly, though, most of us only have a “truthy” sense of what “truthiness” actually meant in its original formulation.
That’s why, when I went back and re-watched the original Colbert truthiness segment, I was so stunned. After a year spent researching the psychology of the right for my book The Republican Brain, Colbert’s words took on dramatic new meaning for me. Frankly, it now seems to me that in some ways, Colbert was ahead of the science on this matter–anticipating much of what we are only now coming to know.
What does this mean? Simply put, Colbert may have been much more right than he knew in 2005.
More right than he knew? I think Colbert would insist that he was exactly as right as he thought he was.